7 Surefire Signs of a *Virtual Violation and 5 ways to Avoid it ~
Published BusinessInfoGuide.com, Red Hot Copy e-zine & Absolute Write July/August 2006
As a small business owner you know the importance of marketing and investing in your businesses. This means attending workshops, trainings, conferences and maybe even entering business competitions or contests that can increase publicity. The intent is to further your business by networking with likeminded individuals while gleaning wisdom from tried and true gurus. Oftentimes, we find such events online. Unfortunately, not all things are what they seem. Perhaps you’ve been told not to believe everything you hear and only half of what you read. I can personally attest this is a good rule of thumb based on recent occurrences.
Embarrassingly, I was duped by a great idea gone awry. I found a business competition and conference that seemed like an ideal platform, online. Allegedly, catering to small and micro home-based businesses with less than ten employees, the event promised an impressive lineup of judges and speakers including nationally known marketing experts and gurus.
The event included a competition for cash prizes in several categories including Entrepreneur of the Year, Best New Product, Most Creative Product and more. With a reputable major sponsor, I was sure the event would be topnotch. Plus, over 130 entrepreneurs had entered the competition. I paid a reasonable fee to attend the event, made travel plans and arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada only to discover the event had been cancelled. No one had notified me. As it’s said ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ In this instance, I just have to share.
Feeling rather foolish and quite burned, I set out to find out what happened. Although I had exchanged e-mail with the organizer just weeks earlier when he confirmed I could add an additional guest to the awards banquet and that he looked forward to seeing me in Vegas, the event had been cancelled PRIOR to our correspondence and I was not notified.
When I connected with the promotions company, I discovered they had severed ties with the organizer because of ‘contractual difficulties’. Apparently the event had been cancelled for over a month.
When I returned home, I quickly e-mailed all of the entrants and people advertised as speakers and/or judges. With the responses from those e-mails, I found more issues like the well known marketing guru who was being promoted on-line as the keynote speaker was never contracted for the event, two of the judges didn’t know they were involved and some of the speakers who were booked received notice of cancellation only days prior to the event and others no notice at all.
Sometimes misery does love company. I felt bad so many people had been misled but strangely better that I wasn’t the only one. Challenges help us grow and it appears that with the help of my attorney, I’ll get full reimbursement for travel and expenses. Plus, I’ve learned how to avoid future *virtual violations. I’ve also made some really great connections with dynamic people who are just as disappointed about the mishap.
Throughout all of this I wanted to bring something positive from the experience. So, here are some tips to help you avoid being virtually violated on the internet.?
7 Surefire Signs of a *Virtual Violation
1)’ Change in Venue ~The event is rescheduled more than once. Be sure to check the website frequently after you’ve booked a conference. If the site indicates there has been a change in date, do some digging to find out why.
2) Bonus Perks ~ Perks that are promised are not received or ?€?members only login access or links are not active or accessible
3) Evasive Answers ~ Questions are not answered directly or simply not addressed at all.
4) Poor Communication ~ Any communication that is not clear and concise and leaves any doubt in your mind should serve as a red flag.
5) Dishonest Communication ~ Featuring a photo of a well known speaker and advertising they will be at the event when there are no contracts in place is clearly not righ